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573 Hoft. Here, mafter Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma,
Cajus, I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a-me, dat you make a grand preparation for a Duke de Jamany; by my trot, der is no Duke, dat the Court is know, to come. I tell I tell you for good will; adieu.
Hoft. Hue and cry, villain, go! aflift me, Knight, I am undone; fly, run, hue and cry! Villain, I am undone !
Fal. I would, all the world might be cozen'd, for I have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the Court, how I have been tranfformed, and how my transformation hath been wash'd and cudgel'd, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boats with me. I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, 'till I were as creft-fall'n as a dry'd pear. I never profper'd fince I forfwore myfelf at Primero 2. Well, if my wind were but long enough to fay my prayers, I would repent.
Enter Miftrefs Quickly,
Now, whence come you?
Quic. From the two parties, forfooth.
Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and fo they fhall be both beftow'd. I have fuffer'd more for their fakes, more than the villainous inconftancy of man's difpofition is able to bear.
Quic. And have not they fuffer'd? yes, I warrant, fpecioufly one of them; miftrefs Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot fee a white fpot
2 Primero.] A game at cards.
Fal. What tell'ft thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, counterfeiting the action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave conftable had fet me i'th ftocks, i'th' common stocks, for a witch.
Quic. Sir, let me speak with you in chamber; you thall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will fay fomewhat. Good hearts, what ado is here to bring you together? fure, one of you does not ferve heav'n well, that you are fo crofs'd.
Fal. Come up. into my
S CEN E XI.
Enter Fenton and Hoft.
Hoft. Mafter Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy,
I will give over all.
Fent. Yet hear me fpeak; affift me in my purpose,
3 Action of an old Woman.] What! was it any Dexterity of Wit in Sir John Falstaff, to counterfeit the Action of an old Woman, in order to escape being apprehended for a Witch? Surely, one would imagine, This was the readieft Means to bring him into fuch a Scrape: for none
either the Malice or mifchievous Subtlety of a Witch in her, THEOBALD. This emendation is received by Sir Thomas Hanmer, but rejected by Dr. Warburton. To me it appears reafonable enough.
4 The great fault of this play is the frequency of expreffions but Old Women have ever been fane, that no neceffity of
fufpected of being Witches. The
preferving character can juftify them. There are laws of higher authority than thofe of criticifm.
Hoft. I will hear you, mafter Fenton; and I will, at the leaft, keep your counfel.
Fen. From time to time I have acquainted you.
[Shewing a letter.
Her mother, ever ftrong against that match,
Her father means fhe fhall be all in white,
And in that drefs when Slender fees his time
And when the doctor fpies his vantage ripe,
Fent. Both, my good Hoft, to go along with me;
Hoft. Well, hufband your device; I'll to the Vicar.
Re-enter Falstaff and Miftrefs Quickly.
Fal. Pr'ythee, no more pratling. Go. I'll hold. This is the third time; I hope, good luck lyes in odd. numbers. Away, go; they fay, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.-Away.
Quic. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. [Exit Mrs. Quickly. Fal. Away, I fay; time wears: hold up your head and mince.
How now, mafter Brook? mafter Brook, the matter
Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, Sir, as you told me you had appointed?
Fal. I went to her, mafter Brook, as you fee, like a poor old man; but I came from her, mafter Brook, like a poor old woman. That fame knave, Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealoufy in him, mafter Brook, that ever govern'd frenzy. I will tell you; he beat me grievoufly, in the fhape of a woman; for in the fhape of a man, master Brook, I fear not Goliah with a weaver's beam; because I know alfo, life is a fhuttle; I am in hafte; go along with me; I'll tell you all, mafter Brook. Since I pluckt geefe, play'd truant, and whipt top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, 'till lately. Follow me, I'll tell you ftrange things of this knave Ford, on whom to night I will be reveng❜d, and I will deliver his wife into your hand-Follow; ftrange things in hand, master Brook! follow.. [Exeunt.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Enter Page, Shallow, and Slender.
OME, come; we'll couch i'th' castle-ditch, 'till we see the light of our fairies. Remember, for Slender, my daughter.
Slen. Ay, forfooth, I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word how to know one another. I come. to her in white, and cry, mum; the cries, budget; and by that we know one another.
Shal. That's good too; but what needs either your mum, or her budget? the white will decipher her well enough. It hath ftruck ten o'clock.